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Where Bikers Are Changing The World

Disclaimer

Tips and Tricks was developed to provide what is believed to be sound advice to help you avoid getting hurt while riding. Of course  motorcycling will never be 100% safe andthese tip can't guarantee you won't get hurt. Most bikers will tell you, "It's not if you get into an accident. It's when." Even if you follow all the advice on the following pages accidents may occur. (Naturally, I believe if you follow this advice you will be much less likely to suffer a collision than if you ignore it.) Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety.

Education Means Safety

If you are serious about riding with us watch this

  {10 minute video concerning riding in groups.}

RIDE PREPARATION FOR GROUPS

We recommend groups to be 5-10 bikes. This number depends on the Road Captains in your group. When there are a large number of riders, the Road Captains will divide larger groups into smaller independant groups prior to the pre-ride brief. Each participating group will depart independently, with the group on the left departing first. The second and remaining groups will leave at predetermined intervals to allow some distance between groups.

Showing up on time and ready to ride means being there before the brief starts, having a full tank of fuel and an empty bladder. This shows respect for your fellow riders. Road Captains leading the pack should always ride at the level of the least skilled rider. Inexperienced riders should ride to the rear just ahead of the sweep rider, who is usually the most experienced rider. This allows the novice rider to observe the group and all signals and procedures. In time, the novice rider will be ready to ride anywhere in the group. Being towards the rear will affect none or few in the event of an error.

Leaving the group before reaching the destination. It is most important that the sweep and/or rear road captain be aware of planned departures. 

The pre-ride brief will cover what will be encountered during that day's ride like destination, timing, rest stops, and road conditions. Miss the pre-ride brief and you should not be on the ride.

Grandstanding, Showing Off or Riding ahead of the group because of pace is too slow for you is frowned upon and is disrepectful to other riders in the group. The bottom line is if you have a Leader/Road Captain you have chosen for your group to follow, you follow! Even if it's down a dead end street. If you know a better way, it's not your job to stop. You must communiticate your intentions without disrupting the group or breaking up the pack. 

Phone Calls. This is something new we have to deal with. If you feel that the call you are recieving can't wait till the next rest stop then you need to communicate to the leader that you need to stop.

Blow your horn to get the attention of the Rider in front of you and bring your hand to your head as if your are holding a receiver.

RIDE FORMATION

The basic ride formations are Staggered, Single File and Parade.

The Staggered formation is the way we usually ride depending on the road conditons. Approximately 2 seconds traveling distance will be kept between you and the rider directly in front of you, and approximately one second between you and the rider in the lane to the left or right. Tight ride formations like this offer minimal view of the road ahead. Consequently, it is necessary to signal intentions and road hazards to warn those behind you early enough to take action. Maintain this spacing unless special conditions occur.

Use Single File on narrow or rough roadways and when entering and exiting highways and tolls. If spacing becomes excessive, correct it by slowly closing the gap.

Avoid the accordion effect  that makes group riding difficult or dangerous. At intersections, especially at stop lights and stop signs, close up the gap between riders. This aids in getting the group through intact.

Never let the group integrity supercede safety. Plan ahead to by exchanging cell numbers and designate a regroup spot should the group become separated.

Remember safety first and all will be fine if you "never hit the rider in front of you".

HIGHWAY PASSING

Group passing should always be kept to a minimum, as it can be difficult at best. It is accomplished one of two ways. The rear road captain will see the signal from the leader/road captain and will then move left and reserve the lane. Once traffic clears the lane, each rider will check for a clear lane and move left starting from the rider just forward of the sweep or rear road captain and proceeding in succession from back to front. When returning to the original lane the maneuver will again begin from the rear road captain with each rider checking before moving over.

IMPORTANT: Always remember each rider must check for a clear lane individually.

PASSING (TWO LANE)

Passing as a group on a two lane road is too dangerous to consider. Instead the group must pass individually. This is only done if the vehicle ahead is moving very slowly. Everyone is responsible for their own pass and no two or more pass together unless they are absolutely sure it's safe.

Be sure to continue to pull ahead of the vehicle being passed so that there is adequate room for the rest of the group to fit in ahead of the passed car and behind the group.

INTERSECTIONS

When stopping as a group at an intersection, the group automatically leaves the staggered formation in favor of a parade formation. This is double file, one along side of the other. Bikes should be kept in first gear and riders should remain alert and ready to move in order to get as many bikes through the intersection as possible in one light change.

A tighter than normal stagger or tight single file is used through the intersection. Extreme caution should always be used in these areas, as they are the most dangerous areas we ride through.

Always yield to the stoplight, cross traffic and stop signs and let the group integrity be broken. Plans and procedures should be in place to regroup. No one will ever criticize you for letting the law or safety take precedence.

PARKING

Clearing the club from the roadway quickly is of great importance; therefore, an orderly method of parking must be adopted. Always consider the position or possible danger the last few riders may be left in and do all you can to expedite getting them out of traffic and harms way.

As seen in the picture to the right: when at a curb the most efficient way is to pull ahead of the place you intend parking in, then back into the spot. The next rider can begin pulling ahead while you are finishing backing up. Be careful and leave enough room around each bike to access the saddlebags and enough so that any rider could easily pull out without hitting another bike.

In very busy traffic or narrow roadway rearward riders should consider circling the block while others park.

Tip Summary

  • Have a full tank before arriving at the departure point.
  • Tell the group leader if you have any special concerns, i.e. speed, sharp corners, etc.
  • Tell the group leader if you plan to leave the group before the destination.  Also tell the persons riding in front and behind you so they don't think you are having a problem.
  • When a rider leaves the group while in staggered formation,  The best way to compensate for the whole made by his absence is for each rider behind the missing bike to change lanes.  Doing this eliminates passing in a single lane.
  • Tell the group leader if your bike has an unusually short fuel range or if your bladder has a short range.
  • It is not unusual to start out on a ride when it is fairly warm and have the temp cool down a lot before getting home.  Riders often wear a light jacket because it felt fine at the time of departure and really be freezing after it got dark.  This frequently happens on dinner rides.
  • Remember to take some clear eye protection if the ride will extend into the evening.
  • When exiting a expressway, keep up the pace so the riders behind you aren't forced to slow down while still on the expressway and become a traffic hazard.
  • Be sure to have proper and current documentation: driver's license, bike registration, insurance card and inspection sticker.
  • During the summer months, consider carrying sunscreen.
  • Occasionally the road captain has to pull the group to the shoulder to wait for a portion of the whole group to rejoin. When this occurs, be sure to pull as far right as safely possible so the road captain is able to look back to watch for the approaching group.